I’m still working on the story of my accident and its aftermath, but before its ready to post here, I want to stay connected. So I’m posting today the short,short story I’m including in a local anthology. It’s based on an event of some 15 years ago, though it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long.


I made it in time, half way across the country.

“Mom’s waiting for you.” Eddie gestured toward my lifelong friend, seemingly comatose on the Hospice bed. I held her hand. I think she squeezed mine a little.

“She had some prune juice for breakfast this morning,” he said. “And she asked when you would be coming.”

My last chance to talk with the person who held so much of my life in her hands, from the time we were in our carriages, I think. Certainly from tricycle days.

“Remember riding down our hill tilting your tricycle to make it a two-wheeler? With me following cautiously behind on three wheels?” I asked. Her eyes fluttered slightly open, then closed. Hallie was always good at eye-fluttering.

I think a little smile played on her lips as I went on. “Playing marbles for keepsies? The only game I was good at. You even picked more violets for Mother’s Day. Boyfriends at BayView beach? Spotting for enemy planes during the war? I couldn’t tell a plane from a mosquito. Giggling at your wedding; crying at my college graduation? Oh, and always protecting me from the scary neighborhood dogs?”

Hallie laughed, full-bellied as she used to, and drifted away to the end of her journey.



Posted January 28, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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23 responses to “JUST IN TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

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  1. Mona. What a blessing to have someone like you on their death bed, saying exactly the things that makes one feel seen and loved. I want to read your book.

  2. Inspiring. Most beautiful use of words to give us your message. Fabulous and thank you!

  3. What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it.

  4. So glad you were there to hold her hand.

  5. Nicely done, Mona. Hallie has been known to all of us since college days. I’m glad you could be there for the send-off.

    Incidentally, You have probably read “Being Mortal,” by Atul Gawanda. There is a new book, also by a physician, that speaks to the process of dying: “When Breath becomes Air,” by Paul Kathaniki. Beautifully written, and very personal, since the author is the major player in the narrative.

    Buffalo is back to green grass again, after two light snowfalls. Still amazing….. You are probably having a “normal” winter.

    Hope the other gathering went well!

    love, Babs


    • Thanks so much, Babs, for responding, for remembering Hallie, and for the book recommendations. I think I’m beginning to get some of my energy back. Unfortunately the time since January 1 (maybe even before) has been an exercise in demonstrating the truth of Murphy’s law — computers, car, you name it. And there is so much I want to read, including American history from the time my father arrived in this country (1910) to enrich his story. But these two are going on my list. In fact, maybe I’ll join that option on amazon.com that allows unlimited Kindle access for a regular per month fee.

      Yes, our weather has been pretty normal. In fact, maybe milder than normal, though we did have some really cold days. The snow outside my window is thin, but piled up enough in some places for the kids in the complex to enjoy digging tunnels. — Such fun to watch.

    • Dear Mona,
      We don’t know each other, I look forward to reading more of your work. I’m a little stuck on a forgiveness problem, maybe your book will help. I am also a friend of Babs’ from 1970! but I’ve lost touch. We met at the Northfield Conference in Northfield, Mass – I was still 6 years from coming out! Hoping to communicate with her. with love, Catherine Carter (aka Cathy)

  6. Lovely. . . This is such a beautifully written, moving piece.

  7. To be there at the moment of death can be a most amazing event, a truly wonder-filled experience. Thanks for sharing this and then…the whole story.

  8. What a wonderful experience for you….

  9. The ideal way to pass on, in my mind, is to have wonderful memories and know that you are loved. It is a gift that you were present at the time of your friends death. I am happy for you. Sharon

    • Thanks, Sharon. What has impressed me in these responses is people’s feeling that it was a wonderful experience for me — which it was. That says great things about people’s acceptance of death as part of life.

      And thanks to you for reading my blog.

  10. Lovely…. how are you? It’s Lynn. I just received
    your new book, & it will my next read. I’m doing well, not happy with these days we’re living. Miss you -🤗😘
    “My Father’s House”

    • Hi Lyn. How great to hear from you, and I hope you will get this reply. The blog entry you’ve responded to is so far in the past. I’m thrilled you have the book, but how did you find out about it? I can only assume you received a more recent issue of my blog. Anyway, truth be told, I’m doing great. The Pandemic gave me the opportunity to retreat — enforced quarantine, of course, and finish “My Father’s House.” As for the rest of what’s going on in the world, I verge on depression. I don’t see how any compassionate person cannot. If you like the book, be aware that reviews on amazon are gold. one other thing. I don’t have your e mail in my contacts list. Are you willing to send it to me at forgivenessoptions@earthlink.net

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